By THE NATION
Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, meanwhile, is pushing for state investment in local power plants for the grassroots economy to help generate revenue for locals and create jobs.
If the Cabinet gives the green light to a recent proposed power plant, Bt70 billion to Bt80 billion can be spent over 2020 and 2021 on the first phase, which will produce 100-megawatts of power, the minister said.
He added that he has also called on the petroleum industry to invest in a joint venture between Bongkot and Erawan gas blocks to put up more oil-drilling rigs worth at least Bt10 billion. This project alone could create up to 2,000 jobs.
The ministry has also spent more than Bt66 billion to help 22 million electricity users nationwide. In fact, it is granting free power to those who use no more than 150 units per month, while households using 800 units or less monthly from March to May will be charged the amount they paid in February.
The ministry has also frozen the float time for electricity at Bt45.34 billion and cut bills for all users by 3 percent until the end of June.
In addition, operators of hotels and residential blocks have been allowed to suspend the payment of power bills for up to six months, while hotels and dormitories being used as field hospitals for Covid-19 patients will be given an additional 30 percent discount in their power bills.